Day 15, Group Fitness Instructor


Ever been to a Group Fitness Class at your Gym and walked out sweaty and ready to take on the world? You have a Group Fitness Instructor to thank for this. If you’d like to create the same feeling in others perhaps you should read on about what being a Group Fitness Instructor is all about.

Instead of meeting clients individually like personal trainers you will be leading classes of about 5-100+ people (unless only 1 member pitches[Yes, sometimes this happens…stay positive.]). Group Fitness Instructors make money teaching their classes at many different venues including: Gyms, private studios and community halls (rented spaces), the outdoors, a self-built studio or anywhere possible really (provided you are a mobile instructor). They can choose to work as an employee, independent contractor or be self-employed (each come with their benefits and shortfalls).



Tasks Involved:

A lot of time (of course) is spent leading groups in your fitness classes. But, you will also spend time doing business aka, marketing yourself, contacting clients, making business arrangements and organizing equipment required for your classes. You also have to keep up-to-date with trending fitness moves, skills etc.

Personality and skills required for this position:

Organizational skills are crucial. Group Fitness Instructors also need to be positive, motivating, inspirational and have a good level of fitness. Good interpersonal, listening and especially communication skills are essential as the clients want to feel as though you know what you are doing and care about their fitness goals if they attend your classes. To find satisfaction in this career is is recommended you have a passion for health and fitness and strong desire to help people change their lives.


 How to break into this career:

Often self-employed Group Fitness Instructors don’t hold any qualifications and work from years of experience. However, you need to have an accredited Group Exercise Qualification and valid CPR Certificate to start teaching Group Fitness Classes at a corporate gym/company.

Depending on the type of fitness class one wants to teach it is recommended they study specialized courses (eg. Mind-Body Pilates).

From here one can apply for jobs at corporate fitness companies such as Virgin Active or Planet Fitness or market themselves on social media etc. If you do your job right it won’t be long before you build connections and get referred to others.

If this is too vague, check out WikiHow’s  step by step process on “How to become a Group Fitness Instructor” right here.


The working hours:

More often than not (due to the low salary) people balance being a Group Fitness Instructor with doing other jobs. In this case their working hours in this career could be very flexible (night, morning or whenever), and not very frequent.

The pay:

Group Fitness Instructors usually get paid per class. Currently $19-$51 (USD) is the average per class Group Fitness Instructors. The only verified statistic I found for South Africa is a measly R61, 784 per year.


The pros:

-You positively impact peoples lives, helping them transform their bodies and lives.

-You can make many connections through your clients (they often become your references).

-You are surrounded by people who are trying to become better versions of themselves; a very empowering and passionate working environment.

-You get a free gym membership if you work at a corporate gym.

-Your job ensures that you keep fit.

-All the physical challenges you face enable you to build a very strong and positive mindset that you can take into all areas of life.


The cons:

If you are employed by a corporate gym:

-Time, well lack of it. The class schedules can often be against you having time for yourself or your family.

-The gym charges you monthly fees which take a huge amount out of your salary.

-Clients can complain and resist workouts which can be very draining.


If you are self-employed:

-Your salary (especially if you don’t market yourself well) is not guaranteed.

-You often have to pay to rent venues (if you don’t have your own studio).


Regardless of working style:

-People and potential clients judge you, there is a lot of pressure to have the “perfect” body in order to get clients. No matter how much experience and skill you have people tend to come to your classes based on your physique.

-Social life. Often, once mentioning to people outside of work that you are in the fitness industry they will exploit you (“Any tips on how I can improve my posture?”).

-This career is notorious for its low pay.


My conclusion and rating on this career:

This career will allow you to keep your passion for fitness and helping people ignited. You will also develop a strong positive mindset. Keep in mind however that it’s not recommended to try make this your full time job as the salary is notoriously low. I think being a Group Fitness Instructor can be very rewarding but also requires a lot of self promotion and organizing from your side. It’s an 8/10 from me, just because you can make such a positive impact in so many peoples lives at once.


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